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Uk to lake como by car, am I mad ??

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Jun 3rd, 2013, 01:14 PM
  #1
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Uk to lake como by car, am I mad ??

Looking for a special holiday 2014 with the hubby and have always wanted to see Switzerland and Italy, my hubby an F1 fanatic so trying to combine driving to lake como area with a week holiday in Italy for Grand Prix in monza in sept 2014. Would really appreciate any ones experience of this adventure. What would be the best route once in Calais, we would stop a few nights on route and we love amazing scenery and pretty towns, got maps of France and Switzerland, any information re route and time it would take to get into Switzerland would be great.
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Jun 3rd, 2013, 02:02 PM
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I assume you live in UK and drive your own car? Then what you propose certain makes sense.
My preferred route from Calais to Switzerland is through Belgium, Germany and enter Switzerland at Basel. This avoids all toll roads (you need a 40SFr vignette - sticker - for using Swiss motorways). It's about 527 miles and takes about 8 hours. And you can fill up with cheap fuel in Luxembourg.

It will be quicker to go through France, on autoroute A26 south of Calais to Reims, A4 to Strasbourg, then south on A35 to Basel, but you have to pay tolls in France (33.20 euro). This will be around 470 miles and takes about 7 hours.

As for places to stop en route, on the German route I'd say somewhere along the Moselle or Rhine, in wine villages/towns and Freiburg in the Black Forest, and on the French route, Nancy, the capital of Lorraine and Strasbourg or Colmar in Alsace.
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Jun 3rd, 2013, 02:41 PM
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Is money a major issue here? How much does it cost now to "drive" under the Channel?
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Jun 4th, 2013, 11:44 PM
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Thank you Alec that's great info to start researching, we live in derbyshire so thought we would allow about 3 days to get there stopping a few overnights and then base ourselves around lake como for a week before return journey. Thanks jo
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Jun 5th, 2013, 12:04 AM
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I also would suggest entering Switzerland at Basel and Colmar could be a good spot for a first night stop.

When crossing San Gottardo rather than taking the tunnel why not consider the pass itself which will be accessible at that time of year.

If your budget permits consider staying at Villa d'Este (Cernobbio) for the days around the GP of Monza - many of the drivers stay there. Book now!

Also - budget permitting - certain tickets at Monza give you parking and accessing the parking you actually drive along part of the old parabolica. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get there as the traffic is very bad for obvious reasons.
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Jun 5th, 2013, 12:37 AM
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"How much does it cost now to "drive" under the Channel?"

Very reasonable, usually much cheaper than flying, since you pay for the car, not the passengers. From 110 pounds return, depending on when you book. Ferry is probably cheaper, but not nearly as convenient or fast.

We drove from Belgium to Como in one day, some years ago, through France, and arrived there late afternoon, in time for a swim, and dinner. Stayed at the Grand Hotel Tremezzo - lovely, with a fantastic view of Bellagio.
It was a very nice drive - we used the Gothard tunnel, in early July; no queues.
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Jun 5th, 2013, 12:54 AM
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I like Colmar, Ulm, eastern tip of Lake Constance then bypass Lichtenstein and over the top to Italy.
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Jun 5th, 2013, 01:18 AM
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Hi joannemichelle. We live in the Manchester area and drove from here down to Southern Italy a few years ago. However we did cross Dover/Calais and into Switzerland.

We stayed overnight in Dover (to be rested for the drive in France) and caught the 9am ferry. We drove to Reims, an easy leg, and stayed there overnight in a lovely city with great food. We did a quick champagne tour. From Reims we headed through Chaumont and overnighted at Dijon and then on to Geneva.

We then bypassed Turin and headed South. It was a great trip with lovely scenery and trouble free driving.
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Jun 5th, 2013, 03:54 AM
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If you do the route proposed by the above posting the logical entry point to Italy coming from Geneva would be the Mont Blanc tunnel. The autoroute charges and the cost of the tunnel would way exceed the Swiss motorway sticker. As this is a one of charge you would get a benefit on your return trip.

If your husband is a keen driver and you do not suffer as navigator/passenger, after Monza you should aim for Verona and then head north and re-enter Switzerland after negotiating the Stelvio pass. If your hubby watches Top Gear he will know of this.
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Jun 6th, 2013, 05:43 AM
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We didn't use the tunnel but went over the mountains. It was spectacular.
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Jun 6th, 2013, 05:45 AM
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I think it would be an absolutely lovely trip but clearly not the most cost effective way to get there if there are just the two of you in the car.
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Jun 6th, 2013, 10:45 AM
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Rubicund - I have done it myself but it does add quite a few hours to the journey
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Jun 6th, 2013, 10:57 AM
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We did Manchester to Siena 6 years ago, with a Springer. Great fun, took the ferry and paid about £80 return. Be very careful of toll roads, we paid about e40 return but things have changed. Last year we went back and forth a couple of times between Turin and Venice, racked up over e100 in tolls.

Goodness knows what the tolls are from the UK to Italy are now.
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Jun 6th, 2013, 12:05 PM
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Is that a Ford Springer? Never heard of that car!

nochblad, time wasn't an issue and the drive over was fantastic. I remember stopping at a cafe just over the summit on the descent into Italy, where a spring ran alongside the log cabin. They served the best ham and cheese!
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Jun 6th, 2013, 12:46 PM
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Maybe a springer spaniel?
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Jun 7th, 2013, 12:53 AM
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Ya think?
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Jun 7th, 2013, 01:05 AM
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By sticking to our route, staying in Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany etc there are no tolls, yes you have to go a wee bit further and you have to drive round the Brussels' ringroad but the pass over the mountain in Swiss is still wonderful
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